Episode 94 (18 June 2024): Have you ever had one of those mornings? You know, where everything goes wrong. It’s like a farce, a series of mishaps increasing in frequency and intensity that have you howling with side-splitting laughter or shedding tears of frustration.

One of Those Mornings was my entry for the Australian Writers’ Centre’s April 2024 Furious Fiction writing challenge. And as I shared in the Five April Stories blog post, it was also the fifth April story I’d written for Furious Fiction since my first in 2020. 

The brief was:

  • Your story’s first sentence must be a question
  • It must include something being pulled
  • And the words POST, TEAR and THUNDER.

Opening Question

In addition to examples of questions and how writers can use them to open a story and engage the reader, the Writers’ Centre specified:

For this challenge, we don’t want to see any “she said” or “Jane asked” tags at the end of this first sentence. It must end with a question mark.

My opening question, “Have you ever had one of those days?” and the scenario for the short story about a widowed father with a teenage daughter came to me very quickly. But soon after I started writing, I realised it was too broad, and I’d need far more than 500 words to tell the story. And even if I had 1000 words, I doubted it would engage the reader until “The End”!

So, midway through, I gave up on the story and thought of another opening question, “Can you keep a secret?” I wrote a paragraph but returned to my original story, drawn back by its characters and premise. However, I tightened the timeline and pace by slightly modifying the question, “Have you ever had one of those mornings?”

Channelling Disappointment

The Writers’ Centre judges didn’t Showcase or longlist my fifth April Furious Fiction, which was disappointing. But as my protagonist artist says in another of my Furious Fictions, The Winner’s Toast (Episode 45 of Tall And True Short Reads storytelling podcast), “I’ve learned to channel disappointment into creative energy.”

Spoiler Alert!

I revisited the story, tweaked a few sentences, and shared it on Tall And True. I even changed the last sentence when I drafted the script before narrating it for Tall And True Short Reads, adding that the father was “shedding happy tears” but would “remember the alarm next week”.

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I hope you enjoy listening to One of Those Mornings on the Acast player (above), the podcast website, or all popular podcasting apps, including Apple PodcastsSpotify, and YouTube. You can read this and my selected short stories, blog posts, and other writings on Tall And True. 

You can also buy my short story collections from the Amazon KindleApple Books, and Kobo online bookstores.

The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be released shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed or the podcast website, TallAndTrueShortReads.com, for earlier episodes from all four seasons. And follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite podcasting app — doing so helps share my storytelling.

Finally, please share this blog post and podcast episode with family and friends and spread the word about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.

© 2024 Robert Fairhead

N.B. You might like to read a post introducing Tall And True Short Reads – Season Four.

Note: This post originally appeared on Tall And True.

This post was proofread by Grammarly
About RobertFairhead.com

About RobertFairhead.com

Welcome to the blog posts and selected writing of Robert Fairhead. A writer and editor at the Tall And True writers' website, Robert also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads podcast. In addition, his book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media, and he's published several collections of short stories. Please see Robert's profile for further details.

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